Lexie Bland scored a career-high 20 points in WWU’s 77-66 loss at CWU (Photo: Jacob Thompson)
Vikings Defeated 77-66 at Central Washington
February 21, 2019
ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Western Washington University junior guard Lexie Bland scored a career-high 20 points in a return to her hometown, but the Vikings couldn’t hold off a pair of second-half rallies by Central Washington University in a 77-66 loss in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play Thursday evening in Nicholson Pavilion.
Bland, who is a product of Ellensburg High School, scored her 20 points on 8-for-15 shooting, also adding 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
The Vikings entered the game having won four of their last five games, but endured its first season sweep by the Wildcats during the Division II era (since 1998-99) to drop to 14-11 overall and 9-8 in GNAC play. CWU secured a spot in the GNAC Championships improving to 16-8 overall and 11-6 in conference play.
In addition to Bland’s big night, sophomore guard Emma Duff (Tumwater, WA/Black Hills) scored in double-digits for the seventh time in the last nine games with 18 points on 7-for-16 shooting (4-for-9 3FG). Junior center Anna Schwecke (Evergreen, CO/Clear Creek/Colorado-Colorado Springs) added a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double on 6-for-10 shooting.
CWU was led by a game-high 23 points from Kaelie Flores, who was 9-for-18 shooting and connected on 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. Taylor Shaw (17 points), Kassidy Malcolm (16 points) and Sadie Mensing (10 points) also reached double-figure scoring for the Wildcats.
COACH DOLFO REMAINS IN BELLINGHAM
WWU head coach Carmen Dolfo did not travel with the team for both road games this week, as she is resting and recovering in Bellingham after having appendicitis. Dolfo hopes to return to the sidelines for Tuesday’s home game vs. Simon Fraser. Head Assistant Coach Stacey Turrell, in her 7th season as an assistant for the Vikings, led the Vikings Thursday night in Ellensburg.
The Vikings shot 42.9% (27-for-63) from the field and were 5-for-17 from 3-point range…CWU shot 43.3% (26-for-60) and were 9-for-25 from 3-point range…WWU held a 44-32 edge in rebounding, including 14-8 in offensive boards…CWU shot 23 free throws (16-for-23), while the Vikings went to the charity stripe only 11 times (7-for-11)…the game featured 7 ties and 5 lead changes…CWU led for 35:17 in the game.
THE SECOND HALF
The Vikings went on a 10-2 run, pulling to within two points at 50-48 after trailing 48-38. The Wildcats answered going on an 11-2 run, capped by a 3-point play by Kaelie Flores to give the Wildcats a 61-50 lead heading into the final quarter. The late third-quarter run proved to be the deciding factor in the game, as WWU would only get as close at six points late in the fourth quarter before CWU clinched the game at the free throw line.
LATE RUN IN 2ND QUARTER FUELS CWU
The Wildcats went on a 10-4 run to end the second quarter to build a 7-point 38-31 halftime lead. CWU was 3-for-6 from 3-point range during the quarter to pull ahead by as many as 9 points at 38-29 before the Vikings scored the final basket of the quarter. The first half featured seven tie scores and five lead changes, before CWU pulled away with the late run to lead at the half.
HARD-FOUGHT FIRST QUARTER
The Vikings and Wildcats battled through four tie scores in the first quarter, with CWU holing a 17-15 lead after the first 10 minutes of the game. Anna Schwecke led WWU with 8 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the quarter, as the Vikings were 7-for-13 (53.8%) from the field. Kaelie Flores led all players with 10 points, with her back-to-back 3-pointers late in the quarter proving to be the difference.
The Vikings remain on the road on Saturday, facing No. 7 nationally-ranked Northwest Nazarene on Saturday at 7 pm MT/6 pm PT in Nampa, Idaho. The final home game, honoring senior Bobbi Westendorf, will be on Tuesday, Feb. 26 vs. Simon Fraser.
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